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Candy Cane Cookies

My family doesn’t have many food traditions I’ve hung onto; but candy cane cookies, made by my mother’s sister and mailed out each holiday season, is one I resurrected when I had children of my own. Now they make them with their children. And so it continues. Ingredients: 3/4 c. butter, softened 3/4 c. sugar […]

Cognitive Dysfunction or Emotional Dysfunction?

There is a difference between “emotional dysfunction” and “cognitive dysfunction.” For those caring for an old-old, it’s helpful to understand the difference. My mother suffered from emotional dysfunction. And though it hurt my ego, it’s a pattern I was familiar with, and it was not going to change—she was more of who she had always […]

When I Am An Old Woman

Daughter on Duty, January 2015 Mama—whose ENT told her this week she was close enough to 99 to call it that, since she will be the next time she comes to have her ears cleaned out—is fond of telling me what I will understand when I am her age. I will understand what it’s like […]

Potato Carrot Cabbage Soup

I had rarely cooked with cabbage before moving in with my mother, but she kept buying it and I kept looking for recipes to satisfy her soup passion. This one is super easy, which was my passion. Ingredients: 4 large carrots, thinly sliced 2 large potatoes, thinly sliced 1 large onion, thinly sliced 1/4 medium […]

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I was always on the lookout for new soups to make for Mama, even though I was not the soup fan she was. We both liked this autumn yumminess. Ingredients 4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed (for easier halving, cut stem end off first) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter […]

What’s on Your Plate?

This “Daughter on Duty” blog post, cut from the Mother Lode manuscript, was written long before I understood that encouraging my mother to continue to age in place was possibly a very big mistake. I was chauffeur last week to Mama and our neighbor Sandy for a visit with a long time friend. Chloe, largely […]

Over the Hill

A few weeks ago, visiting my two young grandsons and their moms, I emerged from my bedroom for an outing wearing makeup, including tinted lip moisturizer. I rarely wear makeup, and it didn’t go unnoticed. “Why are you wearing lipstick, Gigi?” the nine-year-old asked. “Um, I guess so you won’t think I’m old,” I floundered. “You […]

Taking Care of Business . . . and Yourself

A reader’s story reminds us of the importance of getting legal and medical powers of attorney (along with end-of-life wishes) in place while your loved one is mentally able to consider and sign the orders. And, when things change, to take care of yourself. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. By the time I decided that Dad could not […]

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

The Story: I didn’t often make muffins for my mother, I don’t remember why, although she probably would have rejected the blueberry skins in these. But when I opened my airbnb in 2017, homemade granola (recipe here), homemade applesauce (recipe here), and muffins were on the breakfast menu. (It’s my favorite part of being an […]